This fall, Pinney Library is hosting Artist-in-Residence Angela Johnson, who will share her skills with visitors through the end of December. The residency is funded with a Madison Public Library Foundation grant.

A UW-Madison graduate with master’s degrees in art education and photography, Johnson is a fixture within the Wisconsin arts scene. She has more than 22 years of experience maintaining public art studios, teaching workshops, facilitating programs, leading public art installations and lecturing at universities. Further, on October 7, Johnson was named a finalist for the 2022 Forward Art Prize, an award which helps recognize and support female artists in Dane County.

She’s adept at unlocking her students’ creativity no matter their age, as she’s worked everywhere from elementary schools to museums to senior centers. She also conducts mindfulness and yoga workshops. 

Johnson, whose motto is “Visualize, Create, Inspire,” has worked at UW-Madison’s Division of Continuing Studies, Madison Children’s Museum, and the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters, among other places.

Now, she’s putting her title as a Certified Creativity Coach, as well as her passion for inspiring artistic creation in the community, to use at Pinney Library. Each Thursday* through the end of the year, Johnson invites Madison adults and seniors to join her from 2–4 p.m. for open studio sessions. She’ll also offer two-part memory book workshops at four libraries this fall as part of the Live Well @ Your Library event series. Find more details and sign up on the library’s website.

The series will include take-home art kits. Created by Johnson, the kits will contain art supplies for adults to make their own small gratitude journals. These single-page, folded, watercolor and hand-torn journals can be used as a daily practice along with provided prompts. About 20 kits will be available at each Madison Public Library branch in November.

Johnson grew up just blocks away from Pinney Library in the Lake Edge neighborhood and actually visited the neighborhood library regularly.

“I remember my mom taking me to weekly storytime when I was little,” Johnson said. “The library, for me, has always been a magical place of discovery where anything is possible. I’m thrilled to be the artist-in-residence this fall at the library I grew up going to!”

The overall emphasis of these sessions is storytelling through thinking outside the box; however, each month, Johnson will offer different activities to engage attendees. The last three sessions of October will focus on bookmaking, November’s workshops will center around box making, and December’s will involve small structures and ornaments.

“The weekly, drop-in art activities are geared toward adults, focusing around the idea that art is healing,” Johnson said.

Madison Public Library and Madison Public Library Foundation encourage community members to visit Pinney Library and check out Johnson’s studio sessions. Participation is free, and no prior registration is required for the Thursday drop-in activity. The full calendar of these and other Madison Public Library events can be found here.

Visit Johnson’s website and check out her Instagram and Facebook pages to learn more about her work.

*Except for 11/24 (Thanksgiving) and 12/8

Angela Johnson in studio